Raising HIV and AIDS awareness in Indonesia

The HIV and AIDS awareness program in the city of Merauke, West Papua, increases people’s knowledge and awareness about HIV and AIDS in order to help to prevent the spread of the disease.

An HIV/AIDS banner in Indonesia

About the program

In several provinces across Indonesia, the HIV and AIDS epidemic is among the fastest growing in Asia. West Papua has the largest population of people living with the AIDS virus — around 50 percent of the country’s total number of cases (despite West Papua only accounting for 1 percent of Indonesia’s total population). In 2011, the Papua AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA) reported a 30 percent growth in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS in West Papua.

An HIV/AIDS awareness billboard in Indonesia

These extremely high rates are exacerbated by the fact that many people are ignorant of HIV and AIDS and how it is spread. The HIV and AIDS Awareness Program increases the knowledge and role of the communities in Merauke in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS by conducting group discussions and community level training.

The program develops and distributes materials such as posters, leaflets, video films, calendars and T-shirts as a means of promoting messages on HIV and AIDS so that people in the community have access to accurate information about the disease. The program is also using radio and film to spread the message and is developing a network of volunteers to educate and advocate about HIV and AIDS.

This program works in cooperation with Church institutions, the local AIDS Commission (KPAD) and local NGOs working on HIV and AIDS awareness raising in Merauke. As a result there is growing local government recognition of HIV and AIDS as a social issue, not just a health problem, and Caritas Australia partner, Yasanto, has been recognised as a partner of the government in combating HIV and AIDS.

While focusing on awareness raising about HIV-AIDS, Yasanto’s program also teaches about related topics such as tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases in general, and reducing alcohol related violence.

Much of BPKM Yasanto’s work is in isolated villages which have minimal access to outside knowledge to improve their livelihoods. To meet this need, and because BPKM Yasanto has some staff with an agriculture background, in 2011 they widened the program to include workshops on organic gardening.

Program details

  • Issues: HIV and AIDS
  • Partner Agency: BPKM Yasanto
  • Funding in 2017/18 financial year: AU $60,000
  • Geographic location: West Papua
  • When established: 2005

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